How to Launch a Sustainable Café

Opening a café is an exciting venture and the perfect opportunity to help the world become a better place for your kids. Being a parent is never a blockade to seeing your dreams come true. If anything, it can help spur you forward and help you bring your sustainable café idea to life. Establishing a sustainable business, however, can be a challenge. From sourcing ingredients to how you package and serve your food and drinks, every aspect of your café can impact the environment. Here are five tips on how to launch a sustainable café.


1.   Be Mindful of Your Suppliers


You can do everything perfectly on your end, but if your coffee bean supplier is deforesting the Amazon rainforest, you are contributing to the issue. Always look for local and organic suppliers who use sustainable farming practices like regenerative agriculture, and support them to help bring about the change you want to see in the world. This supports the local economy and minimises your carbon footprint, as you’ll cut out the CO2 associated with transporting food over long distances. By working with sustainable, local suppliers, you can be confident that the ingredients you use in your café are produced with the environment in mind.


2.   Recycle and Compost


Properly recycling and composting your business’ waste to minimise what goes to the landfill are two of the most no-brainer but effective ways to make your cafe more sustainable. Make sure you have clearly labelled recycling and compost bins for customers and staff to use. You’ll also need to train your staff. Any plastics should be rinsed before being recycled; cardboard should be flat-packed.


3.   Use Recyclable or Biodegradable Packaging


Packaging is a major contributor to waste in the food and beverage industry. To reduce your café’s environmental impact, choose packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable. Look for options made from materials such as paper, bamboo, or cornstarch. It’s impossible and makes no business sense not to offer coffee in to-go cups, so invest in this recyclable 8 oz coffee cup instead.


4.   Encourage Customers to Bring in Reusable Items


Another way to reduce waste in your café is to encourage customers to bring in their own reusable cups, straws, and containers. Offer a discount to customers who bring in their own reusable items or sell branded reusable cups or bags to incentivise customers to switch to more sustainable options. You could also offer free water refills for customers with reusable bottles to reduce the number of plastic water bottles used in your café.


5.   Advocate for Sustainability


People can’t do better and feel better about that unless they know. For example, to-go coffee cups are indeed recyclable, but they need to be recycled where they are accepted. If this is in their everyday recycling bin, that’s great! If not, have a take-back system so you can encourage customers to bring in their coffee cups to be recycled for a small discount.


You’ll also have a unique opportunity to advocate for sustainability in your community. Consider partnering with local environmental groups or hosting events that raise awareness about environmental issues. You could also offer educational resources in your café or use social media to promote sustainable practices and products.

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash